After seeing the Bald Cypress Cross-section at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation website (below), which dates back to 1404 and includes the founding of Jamestown in 1607 as years of historical note, new interest was given to a gray, weathered round of sinker cypress in its "third-life" at the Albany Woodworks facility.
The log cross-section, which rests shaded on the porch of our charming antique wood showroom, is similar in size to the Williamsburg Cypress cross-section which is approximately 37 inches in diameter. This relative size similarity and the large amount of clearly visible growth rings (see below) caused us to look closer at this section of Louisiana Bald Cypress we found in a recent sinker cypress delivery at Albany Woodworks.
Beneath layers of dry and scoured outer cells, tortured and twisted from years of forgotten existence, a marvel in color and rich patina await one thing. The removal of a few top layers will all but erase a "third-life" of neglect and slowly build back the surface with decreasing levels of grit sandpaper, from coarse to very fine.
Cracks and erosion occurred during this cypress tree's "third-life" as a sinker log. A "first-life" spent several hundreds of years ago as a a virgin-growth Bald Cypress tree in a Louisiana swamp. A "second-life" as a cypress log in transit, marked best "D" grade, and stamped as such. Felled by industrial revolution-era entrepreneurs to supply a growing cypress lumber and shingles industry. Lastly, a "third-life", long years spent alone, or with others like it, in the waters of the Louisiana swamp.
These swamp waters, famed as the "spring eternal" in fountain of youth quests and the subsequent Spanish discovery of the Gulf Coast and Yucatán Peninsula, replace in kind what they take away. Deposits of minerals, a visible reminder of the water which filtered through the layers of silt that surrounded the sinker log at the bottom of the riverbed, and into the wood itself.